Team 18 drivers Scott Pye and Mark Winterbottom are gearing up for another thrilling weekend of Supercars action as the Ned Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint descends on Symmons Plains Raceway on 19-21 May.
This weekend’s Tasmania SuperSprint will be a special one for Symmons Plains, which hosts its 50th ATCC/Supercars round, having first hosted a championship round in 1969. Only Sandown, as hosted more championship events at 52.
As the event approaches, the team has been working hard between events to turn around their performance after a challenging weekend in Perth earlier this month.
Pye heads to Tasmania with a new major backer onboard in East Coast Car Rentals, and expects plenty of action from the Gen3 Supercars as they tackle the tricky Symmons layout for the first time.
“I’m looking forward to Tassie. It’s a small circuit and in qualifying in particular, if you make one mistake, your day is done really because you end up down the back while the field spread is so small,” said Pye.
“It’s an exciting little track. I think for a permanently built track, it’s a very cool one for the fans. They can see so much of the circuit and it goes back to the roots of Supercars.
“I think the hairpin is going to be interesting in this new car. It’s a big braking spot into there and it’s one of the tightest corners on the calendar, so that’ll be a new challenge for this car. I think as well, us drivers will have our work cut out for us in that first sector over the hump with the car getting light.
“The new balance is certainly something to get used to every time you roll out at a different track, so that’ll be quite cool to experience and hopefully we’re at the pointy end.
“I think brake fade could be an issue over there following other cars. The cars this year have felt like in hot air they’re quite difficult to manage tyre wear and brake fade, so I think at Tasmania having such big stops, that could be something to be aware of.
“I think there’s only positives heading into Tasmania. It’s a new opportunity with a new car for us.”
With 46 race starts at the venue, DEWALT Racing’s Winterbottom is the most experienced driver on the grid at Symmons Plains, and will be hoping to recapture the pace that saw him claim Team 18’s first ever pole position in 2019.
“Heading to Tassie is a good chance for us to regain a bit of momentum and get our season back on track after a promising start at Newcastle and the Grand Prix,” said Winterbottom.
“After a challenging round in Perth, we’ve regrouped and are determined to bounce back stronger this weekend. Symmons Plains will be a tricky track to showcase those gains with the margins super close around there. If you find a tenth of a second you could be five or six spots up.
“Symmons Plains is a special place for Charlie and the team after we got the team’s first pole back in 2019. The cars and team have evolved since then but it would be great to tap into some of our learnings from that day and deliver another strong weekend for the team.”
“Our aim is to unlock the potential of our car early to put ourselves in the best position for Qualifying. We’ve hit the reset button, made some changes and if we can execute well then there’s no reason we can’t bounce back here.”
Symmons Plains Raceway, nestled in the picturesque countryside of Launceston, Tasmania, is renowned for its short and challenging layout. Measuring just 2.41 kilometres, this tight and twisty circuit places immense demands on both car and driver. With two fast straights and the notorious tight Turn 4 hairpin, Symmons Plains guarantees a thrilling spectacle that tests the mettle of all drivers.
One eye will be kept on the skies this weekend, with Tasmania’s weather known for adding an extra layer of unpredictability to the racing action. This is expected to be a major factor in qualifying where margins are predicted to be extremely tight with the full field in 2022 spread by less than seven-tenths of a second.
The Ned Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint brings the return of a two-day format for the Supercars Championship, with support categories in action on Friday.
Two practice sessions will kick off proceedings on Saturday at 9:00am and 10:55am respectively, before a three-part qualifying session from 12:55pm. The first of three 42 lap races will be held on Saturday afternoon, with Race 10 of the championship kicking off at 3:50pm.
Sunday’s action will see back-to-back qualifying from 9:50am, followed by Race 11 at 1:05pm and Race 12 at 3:50pm.
All the action from the Ned Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint can be viewed live on Fox Sports and Kayo.